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Politics of Thursday, 29 April 2010

Source: GNA

Panellists on Constitutional review against blanket review

Accra, April 29, GNA - Panellists at a roundtable on Thursday, agreed that although it is important for Ghana to review the 1992 Constitution, the exercise should be treated with caution to avoid a blanket review. They called for a piecemeal approach to the national exercise in order not to do anything detrimental to growth of democracy and good governance. The panellist expressed these views at a forum organised by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) as part of activities marking the 10th Annual Constitution Week celebration in Accra.

They held the view that it is important for Ghana to ensure the durability of the constitution deepen Ghana's fledgling democracy. The forum, which brought together participants from academia, judiciary, legislature, civil society organisations and identifiable bodies was on the topic: "Can Our Present Constitutional Framework Accelerate the Growth and Sustenance of Democracy and Good Governance in Ghana." Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Attorney General and Minister of Justice noted that the constitution had served Ghana for well over 18 years and ushered the country into democratic dispensation.

She however said the document as presently drafted and operationalised cannot promote the governance ideal intended. She said that it was time to review the operation of the constitution in order to make it more scientific and promote conscious decisions on the governance architecture of the country. Mrs. Iddrisu the exercise could lead to the resolutions of the many problems that now confront the country, "given the immense benefit of experience that now guides us".

"The exercise is meant to give us all the opportunity to take a second look at the operation of the constitution and to determine. amendments or modification. The decision is ours to make, not government." Professor Kofi Quashigah, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana (UG) said even though the constitution needed periodical changes, it should not under go total review. He said the Judiciary should be given the opportunity to let the constitution grow.

Prof. Quashigah said reviewing the constitution entailed that the country recognised its peculiar circumstances and questioned whether the Constitutional Review Commission was the right body to decide what the people want in their constitution and if the nation was sophisticated politically to address all the issues to be amended in the document. Dr Vladmir Antwi Danso a lecturer at UG said the constitutional review should hasten slowly because changes in certain provisions in the document would not lead to growth in democracy and good governance if deliberative politics is not encouraged. 29 April 10